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CRN North East and North Cumbria Frequently Asked Questions - Targeting Health Needs 2022 Funding Call


CRN Funding Call to meet local priority health needs: Guidance 2022/23

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What costs can be included in an application? 

A: Salary costs related to the delivery of the research/project can be included in the application. All costings must be within the Agenda for Change/Higher Education Institution salary range. Costs should not include anybody who is already funded by NIHR CRN NENC, for example research delivery staff. 

Q: Can the bid be for equipment and software licences?

A: Unfortunately the Targeting Health Needs awards are not for equipment and software licences.

Q: Can the application include research costs, for example the development of a potential IT solution to a research question?

A: No, bids cannot include research costs as defined by AcoRD: "the costs of the R&D itself that end when the research ends. They relate to activities that are being undertaken to answer the research questions".

Q: Can the bid include consultant time?

A: No, you cannot include consultant time to deliver research (e.g. patient consent and recruitment) in your bid; however, it is possible to include funding for protected time where a consultant is the Chief Investigator developing a research idea and submission to the NIHR Portfolio is planned.

Q: Can the bid be for funding for publication?

A: No, bids cannot be for funding publication costs; however, under certain circumstances and where there is a clear benefit, the Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria may support publication costs through other means (where available). Please speak to your point of contact if you are looking to bid for this form of funding

Q: My work is within a specialty or discipline not covered by the priority areas; can I still apply?

A: Speak with your point of contact; there may be more appropriate funding streams available or they may be able to help put you in touch with contacts working within the priority areas to enable joint bids.

Q: If my application is successful, will my research be automatically eligible for the NIHR Portfolio?

A: No, your project will need to meet the NIHR eligibility criteria. More details of which studies are eligible for the Portfolio can be found on the NIHR website.

Q: Is this funding available to universities?

A: Yes, if the project supports the development of research that addresses the unmet health needs of local populations within at least one specialty area including primary care, public health and social care.

Q: Is there other funding available? 

A: Yes, NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria has frequent funding calls: 

Funding opportunityCall out
Contingency fund May 2022
Investigator Initiated Trials (IITs) July 2022
Greenshoots September 2022
Research Delivery Awards (RDAs) October 2022
Targeting Health Needs November 2022

Please contact for further information.

Q: Does the timeline of the awards make it challenging to spend the funding within the financial year, given the amount of time it takes to recruit or backfill one year's posts?

A: We recognise that this is a challenge. The timeline of the awards was designed to leave applicants enough time to access the available support and develop their applications. However, next year we can look at bringing the application deadline forwards (e.g. before Christmas), so that successful applicants can appoint staff by April if necessary. 

Q: Are there lessons to be learnt from previous awardees on how to manage timely spending?

A: The majority of people who have been awarded Targeting Health Needs funding have spent the funding within the timeframes. Only a few had to make changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are concerned about the timeline, you may want to consider the lead-in time for your project and apply for funding the following year. 

Q: Do you support studies which are already running and need extra funding?

A: Yes, provided they fit the criteria for the funding.

Q: Is there a funding limit for each bid?

A: Yes, the funding limit is £30,000 per bid.

Q: How many projects will be awarded funding? 

A: There is no limit on how many projects can be awarded funding; however, the spending call for this year has been capped at £300,000 and there is a funding limit of £30,000 per bid.

Q: Do I need to include a predicted budget in my Expression of Interest form? 

A: No, the Expression of Interest form just asks for a brief summary of what your project might look like and where it might fit within specialty groups or Targeting Health Needs funding categories.

Q: Can this award be used (at least in part) to fund protected time to prepare for an application such as an NIHR Doctoral Fellowship provided the theme of the project aligns with the Targeting Health Needs criteria?

A: As the idea behind the award is to widen access to research opportunities, funding preparation for an individual fellowship would not be appropriate. However, if you can provide evidence that - as part of your preparation - you are running an NIHR portfolio-adopted trial, or preparing to run one using initial pilot data collection, then this would be viewed much more favourably.

Q: Would not having pilot data be a disadvantage for my funding application? 

A: No, but if a pilot has been undertaken it would be useful to include progress and outcomes to date. 

Q: What is the purpose of the Single Point of Contact that is allocated?

A:  A point of contact, likely a Research Operations Manager from the CRN NENC team, will be nominated to each applicant following receipt of an expression of interest form. They will support applicants by:

  • directing applicants to relevant Specialty Group Lead
  • helping applicants engage with relevant partner organisations, other specialties, public health or primary care
  • helping applicants access relevant data e.g. through use of NIHR systems
  • guiding applicants to further resources and opportunities

Q: What makes a proposal more likely to be picked up as an NIHR Portfolio study?

A: Discuss your project with the relevant Specialty Group Lead and Research Delivery Manager as soon as possible; complete the expression of interest and application form as fully as possible; engage with the relevant R&D department or organisation lead.